COVID-19 and Tobacco
In December 2019, a new coronavirus strain was reported by Chinese researchers in connection with a pneumonia-like illness in Wuhan, China. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the global spread of this new virus, coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated “COVID-19”), to be a pandemic. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and can spread between people sustainably. Because there is little to no pre-existing immunity against the new virus, it spreads worldwide.
COVID-19 can cause mild to severe illness, including illness resulting in death. Transmission of COVID-19 is mainly by exposure to respiratory droplets. Symptoms include, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure. Older people and people of all ages with underlying severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
Smoking and vaping have been shown to negatively affect the lungs and the immune system, which strongly suggests that using these products increases the risk of infection and worse outcomes from COVID-19. To help reduce the risk of becoming infected or having complications from COVID-19, individuals should consider quitting smoking and vaping.
The Relationship between COVID-19 & Tobacco
While COVID-19 is a new disease we are still learning more about, researchers have discovered that it can affect the respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), with severe cases requiring oxygenation as part of treatment! We also know tobacco use affects ALL parts of the human body – especially the lungs! People who smoke and vape are at a greater risk for a myriad of chronic health conditions and are more susceptible to respiratory diseases.
Experts are warning, based on current research, people with compromised health, due to smoking or vaping and people with opioid, methamphetamine, cannabis, and other substance use disorders (SUD) could find themselves at increased risk of COVID-19 and its more serious complications. Additionally, individuals with behavioral health conditions may be at a greater risk as fear, anxiety, and social isolation may cause increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances as a way of coping with stress associated with the pandemic.
It’s still just as important, as ever before,
to keep tobacco cessation a priority.
With new information unfolding daily, we’ve gathered the below collection of resources, news articles, and journal articles related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its implication for people who use tobacco, including e-cigarettes or vape products.
- Smoking Nearly Doubles the Rate of COVID-19 Progression
- How smoking, vaping and drug use might increase risks from Covid-19
- Quit Now Indiana – COVID-19 and Tobacco Use Facts
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders
- Smoking or Vaping May Increase the Risk of a Severe Coronavirus Infection
- Reduce your risk of serious lung disease caused by corona virus by quitting smoking and vaping
- COVID-19 & Tobacco Factsheet